It’s been a bad week for NeverTrump and will continue to be a bad time for the coming weeks. I’m not talking about the New York primary. Donald Trump’s blowout was expected for months. I’m also not talking about the upcoming Northeastern primaries. His victories there are also expected. I’m talking about the establishment getting behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz falling behind in California and Indiana.
Let’s start with the establishment. It’s been known that Fox News supported Donald Trump for a while. With the exception of actual journalism from Bret Bair and Megan Kelly we have seen every anchor and many regular guests fawn over Donald Trump. If this was ever in doubt it shouldn’t be any more. Last week the Wall Street Journal publishes an op-ed by Donald Trump and the New York Post endorsed him. These two outlets are owned by Robert Murdoch who also owns Fox News. While he used to be a vocal critic, as CNNMoney put it, “Trump and Murdoch have had several meetings and conversations in recent months, according to sources close to both men… Over the course of these discussions, Murdoch has apparently come to see Trump not only as a serious candidate with potential, but also as the GOP’s inevitable nominee, the sources told CNNMoney.”
Karl Rove’s, former Bush Chief of Staff, Super Pac, Crossroads USA, wrote in an email that “our initial review of the data indicates that, because of Hillary Clinton’s toxic vulnerabilities, the presidential contest could be intensely competitive regardless of who our nominee is.” Another signal of the Establishment is warming up to a Trump nominee. Trumps mafia-style threats against the GOP are also working. Politico reported that Trumps actual delegate target is lower than 1,237 since if he’s close the establishment will give the nomination to him- and secure a historic democratic victory across the ballot. As Timothy Carney put it in the Washington Examiner “nominating Trump would be a nightmare for the GOP. But in Cleveland, the party bosses may decide that it’s worse to let the delegates nominate someone else.”
Of course we may not even get to a contested convention. With the Indiana primary coming up it looks like Trump will win it. Indiana is critical, as Nate Silver tweeted “Indiana is becoming must-win for #NeverTrump and #NeverTrump ain’t winning it, although suspect it’s more a toss-up than lean Trump.” Recent polling has shown Trump up 6 and 8 points in Indiana- both outside the margin of error for their respective poll. Looking to June’s California primary we see a once promising primary looking more and more like it is becoming the state which will secure a Trump nomination. Trump has won the last 8 polls in California- the last two wins being by 18 and 27 points.
There is some good news. Fivethirtyeight gives Donald Trump only a 51% chance of winning Indiana and Ted Cruz a 48% chance. I have less good news in California. In a week Ted Cruz went from being more likely to win it to being almost 50 points less likely to win it.
The road looks to Cleveland looks dark and scary and it is. There is no way around it but relative to the road to November and beyond it is likely pretty comforting. By this time next year we can look forward to having a Hillary Clinton administration, democratic Congress, progressive Supreme Court, and the flipping of countless state capitals.
In 8 days Indiana will decide if Donald Trump gets 1,237 or if he will be held below it.
God help us all.